Holyrood seeks views on controversial law change

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JUSTICE Secretary Kenny MacAskill has launched a consultation on controversial plans to change Scots law, including scrapping the need for corroboration.

The move, proposed in a review last year by Lord Carloway, would mean only one source of evidence was required for a conviction. It is seen as a way of making it easier to prosecute cases.

However, some senior legal figures have warned against what they see as a centuries-old safeguard which is an integral part of the Scottish legal system. The Scottish Government has signalled its intention to accept the broad reasoning of Lord Carloway’s review into Scots law and practice as a package. Other recommendations include the right to legal advice when taken into custody, limiting the period of arrest before charge to 12 hours and greater flexibility for police in conducting investigations.

Mr MacAskill said: “On corroboration, the consultation paper agrees that the requirement should be abolished. It reflects that the rationale for the rule stems from another age, [and] that its usage can bar prosecutions that would in any other legal system seem entirely appropriate.

“Our focus is on deciding how to best achieve abolition and what, if any, additional measures require to be taken.”